Economic Impacts of Whitewater Parks

economic impact table

I initially contacted S2o Design and Engineering about helping me to create a vision for a pumped Whitewater Park in the Southwest.  We accomplished this task with such a large degree of success that it has opened a tremendous can of worms down here.  The site plan created by S2o is so attractive that we literally have people from the surrounding Towns and Cities trying to get us to move our project to their location.  S2o identified our customer base and designed a profitable concept around our target audience—this is a project that everyone in our region believes is a clear success.

We are now in the process of working with our local City to try and solicit funding for the project.  We are targeting funds from a variety of sources including local government support, state and federal grants, and investor financing.  We expect our final funding portfolio to be a mixture of these options.

As a part of the process of soliciting funding we have needed to know three key elements related to the economic impacts of whitewater parks:

The first question was, “how many people in our area like to raft and how many of these folks are likely to come visit our site if we build this thing?”  In order to understand the answer to this question we commissioned a Market Analysis from S2o Design and Engineering.

The second question we needed to know the answer to was, “If the expected number of people show up, will our venue be profitable?”   In order to understand the answer to this question we commissioned S2o to undertake a Business and Market Analysis.

The last question we needed answered is, “how will the visitors that come to my park affect the economy of the surrounding city and region?”  Our host City wanted to understand these effects so that they could judge how much they were willing to contribute to making this project happen.  In order to address this question we had S2o undertake an Economic Impact assessment.

We had a lot riding on the results of these studies and were being held to a very high standard.  The State commissioned a large and well known independent accounting firm to review our business model and market analysis prior to analyzing our grant application.  This accounting firm not only reviewed the numbers but applied several sensitivity tests to see how robust the business model was in the face of lower attendance or lower price point.  S2o’s Business model and market analysis passed with flying colors.  The accounting firm did not suggest a single revision.

The economic impact study did even more for our case.  Again, it was a well documented study based on actual user data from our region.  When the City’s economic team took it apart—checking the source data for content and validity and applying their own analysis to check our results—and came back with the same comments as the state:  “it looks good”.